Alabama football has one of the richest histories in college football. The program has a list of accolades that cannot be matched by any other program.
- 97 1st Team All Americans
- 21 College Football Hall of Fame inductees
- 813 All Time Wins
- 56 Bowl Berths
- 32 Bowl Victories
- 22 SEC Championships
- 13 National Championships
- 1 Heisman Winner (Ingram, 2009)
The history of the Alabama football team was essentially completed when they were able to grab the award that eluded the program for so long when Mark Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Memorial Trophy. He became the first player from Alabama to win college football’s most prestigious award.
From Johnny Musso to Shaun Alexander, John Hannah to Chris Samuels, and Don Hutson to Julio Jones, the Alabama Crimson Tide has produced many an offensive players who have had a lasting impact on the program. Some are currently still members of the Crimson Tide, while others have been long gone and even forgotten.
If it’s been a while since you have thought of the rich tradition that is Alabama football, then I hope this article jogs your memory. This will not include any current players, but I will talk about some of the current players that have a chance to make this list once they move on to greener pastures in the NFL.
Without further ado, here is the all time Alabama offense. Please enjoy and leave any feedback you may have.
Starter: Pat Trammell (1959-1961)
Surprised? I assume most of you were expecting to see the name Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, or even Bart Starr as the starting QB. I’d even go as far as to saying that a lot of people outside of other diehard Alabama fans like myself, have never even heard of this guy.
Pat Trammell was the Alabama QB from 1959-1961, committing to play for new Alabama head coach Paul Bear Bryant. Trammell became the legendary coach’s first star player at Alabama. Trammell led Bear Bryant to his first National Championship in 1961 with an 11-0-0 season.
Trammell was named an Academic All American in 1961, SEC MVP, All SEC 1st team. The AP named him the Back of the year in ’61, and he was named the College Player of the year by the Touchdown Club of Atlanta. Trammell finished 5th in the Heisman voting that same season.
Trammell holds the Alabama record for lowest interception percentage for a career. When Trammell’s career at Alabama was over, he left as the winningest QB in school history with a record of 26-2-4 (0.875 winning percentage). That record would stand until Jay Barker broke it in 1994, finishing his career with a 35-2-1 record as a starting QB.
Trammell was thought of by his teammates and coaches alike as one of the smartest players they ever played with or coached.
So, why do many people forget who Pat Trammell was? Mainly because of his untimely death in 1968 at just 28 years old when he lost his battle with cancer. Coach Bryant said that that day was the saddest of his entire life. Trammell was Bryant’s favorite player, and I believe Trammell is deserving of the starting QB on the all time Alabama football team.
Backup: Joe Namath (1962-1964)
Namath quarterbacked the Crimson Tide to a 29-4 record in three years as the QB, included a National Championship in 1964. While Namath may have had the most pro success coming from the University, I consider him the 2nd best to lead the Crimson Tide. And he narrowly edges out the likes of Kenny Stabler and Bart Starr.
Coach Bryant said of Namath that he was the “greatest athlete I ever coached.” While Namath may have had some issues with drinking and other things during is time in Tuscaloosa, there is no denying how good he was at Alabama.
Who has next: Greg McElroy (2009-Present)
I believe this is the second time in the article that I may have you dumbfounded. But, hear me out.
While McElroy has only started at QB at Alabama for one year, he has a chance to be mentioned in the same breath as Pat Trammell, Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, and Bart Starr. He could go down as the most accomplished QB in the history of Alabama football.
But, for that to happen, this 2010 Alabama football team has to be something truly special. Imagine if McElroy leads the Crimson Tide to another 14-0 season in 2010. That would mean that he would leave the Capstone with a 28-0 record as a starting QB, two SEC Championships, and two National Championships.
I realize some people are down on McElroy and even pushing for AJ McCarron to be the starting QB in 2010, but if G-Mac QB’s Alabama to another perfect season in 2010 then I can’t see how his name isn’t mentioned along the all time greats in Alabama history.
Starter: Shaun Alexander (1996-1999)
Shaun Alexander is Alabama’s all time leading rusher with 3,565 rushing yards. Along with that, he holds double-digit other Alabama rushing records. A sprained ankle in his senior season in Tuscaloosa derailed what could have been a Heisman trophy season for the RB. He ended up finishing 7th in Heisman voting in 1999.
Alexander’s 41 career rushing touchdowns are tops in Alabama history and he is 2nd all time behind Harry Gilmer with 50 total touchdowns. Alexander was a focal point in Alabama’s SEC Championship in 1999 when they blasted Florida 34-7 in the Title game.
Alabama has had many great RB’s over the years, so Alexander being the top guy is quite an honor. Alexander’s success at Alabama translated into great success in the NFL as well with the Seattle Seahawks in what looks to be a Hall of Fame pro career.
Backup: Bobby Humphrey (1985-1988)
You can see how many great Alabama running backs there has been when Humphrey is Alexander’s backup on the all time team. Humphrey was a two time All American in 1986-87 and is 2nd all time in rushing yards in Alabama history with 3,420 rushing yards.
In 1986, Humphrey set the all time Alabama record for most rushing yards in a single season in Tide history with 1,471 yards. A record that stood until Mark Ingram broke it last season with 1,658 yards.
Humphrey finished 10th on the Heisman ballot in 1987 and went on to have little success in the NFL. But, there is no denying the great career he had while lining up in the Alabama backfield.
Starter: Johnny Musso (1969-1971)
Instead of having a fullback, I decided to do two starting RB’s and two backups. The main reason for that is the amount of top-notch RB’s that I cannot leave off this team.
Musso is a guy that I have heard my Dad talk about constantly over the years. Musso was my Dad’s favorite player for the pure grit and determination he ran with. Musso ran with a purpose.
My favorite story told to me by my father was in the 1971 Iron Bowl when Musso rushed for over 100 yards on an injured toe that required he wear a special cast to play. My Dad still believes that Musso would have won the Heisman that year had it been given out after the Iron Bowl.
Musso is 4th all time in rushing yards in Alabama history, and was an All American in back to back seasons in 1970 and 1971 at Alabama. While he may not have the stats that Alexander and Humphrey boasted, there is no questioning that his name should be mentioned in the same breath.
Backup: Harry Gilmer (1944-1947)
Consider this more of an All-Purpose back slot than a backup running back slot. Gilmer is Alabama’s all time touchdown leader with 52, and led the team in passing and rushing in 1946. He was the SEC player of the year in 1945 and an All American selection.
Gilmer did it all in his career at Alabama and led them to a Rose Bowl victory over USC in 1946. I can’t put together an all time team without including Harry Gilmer somewhere and this looked like the best spot to do so.
Who has next: Mark Ingram (2008-Present)
When Ingram’s career is finished with the Crimson Tide, he could possibly be the best running back ever to play for Alabama. In two years, Ingram has rushed for 2,386 yards and is just 1,179 yards shy of breaking Shaun Alexander’s rushing record with the Tide,
Add in the fact that Ingram won the program’s first Heisman Trophy last season, and the only reason he isn’t one of the four RB’s I listed above is because he’s an active player.
Another player you shouldn’t sleep on being one of the better RB’s in Tide history is Trent Richardson. He won’t get his chance to be a featured back until 2011 when Ingram likely jumps to the NFL a year early, but he still has a chance of racking up 1,000 yards in 2010.
The current tandem in Tuscaloosa is better than any before.
Starter: Don Hutson (1932-1934)
One of the greatest WR’s ever to play the game, most people think of Hutson as the 2nd best pro WR behind Jerry Rice. Hutson was a pioneer of the position and is credited with creating many of the modern pass routes.
Hutson was an All American in 1934 for the National Champion Crimson Tide team under head coach Frank Thomas. Hutson was the first “modern” receiver. His best game as a member of the Crimson Tide was in the 1935 Rose Bowl when they beat Stanford to clinch the National Title. He caught six passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Hutson was a charter member of the college football Hall of Fame.
Backup: Dennis Homan (1965-1967)
Pop question: Who is Alabama’s all time touchdown reception leader? If you answered DJ Hall, Ozzie Newsome, Freddie Milons, or even David Palmer, you would be wrong. The correct answer is Dennis Homan with 18 touchdown receptions.
Homan was a two-time All-SEC performer and an All-American once during his days as an Alabama WR.
Starter: Ray Perkins (1964-1966)
Perkins was a member of two National Championship winning teams in 1964 and 1965 at the University of Alabama. He was a team captain in 1966 and an All American the same year.
He was also the 1966 player of the year in the SEC. Perkins went on to have an unsuccessful stint as the Alabama head football coach following the greatest coach in college football history in Paul Bear Bryant, but Perkins was without a doubt one of the best wide receivers in Alabama history.
Backup: David Palmer (1991-1993)
This one was tough to choose. There are plenty of guys who are deserving of this spot, but I can’t leave the Deuce off of the all-time team. In 1993 David Palmer became the first player in Alabama history to have a 1,000 yard receiving season. Palmer also had a school record 217 yard receiving day against Vanderbilt that season, an Alabama record.
Palmer may have been the first player to run the “Wildcat offense.” Gene Stallings was creative in finding ways to get the ball in the Deuces hands. Palmer was apart of the National Championship Alabama team in 1992, and the next season he finished 3rd in the Heisman voting.
If I did put in an All Purpose back slot, then Harry Gilmer would have a lot of competition with David Palmer nipping at his heels.
Who has next: Julio Jones (2008-Present)
Alabama has never had a more physically gifted receiver than Julio Jones. Unfortunately, Julio hasn’t put up the big numbers that was expected of him when he signed with the Crimson Tide in 2008. Julio has shown his immense potential in his two years playing in Tuscaloosa, but he has left a lot to be desired. Many people, like myself expect 2010 to be the year Julio breaks out and has a huge year for the Crimson Tide if he can avoid the injury-bug.
Starter: Ozzie Newsome (1974-1977)
You could easily have Newsome as a WR on a team like this, but he was more of what would be a TE in today’s game. There is no doubt that Newsome is the best TE in Alabama history if you so choose to remember him as such.
Newsome was named the player of the decade for the 70’s. He had 102 receptions in his career for 2,070 yards. He was a big play threat during his career, averaging an absurd 20.3 YPC. He was an All American in 1977 and named the SEC’s lineman of the year.
Alabama was 42-6 during Newsome’s four year playing career.
Backup: Howard Cross (1985-1988)
It’s a tough pick for the backup TE on this squad. I considered guys like Lamonde Russell, Terry Jones Jr., and even a guy like Nick Walker or Travis McCall, but in the end I had to go with Cross.
Cross doesn’t have flashy numbers, but he was an outstanding blocker at the TE position, and for the level of RB’s this all time team boasts, why not put on there a guy who could block with the best of them?
Who has next: ??
Nobody in particular. At this point, there is not a threat that I see of anybody breaking into this category. But, I’m sure there is somebody in the future that will come along and has a shot at it.
Instead of going position by position I have decided to do just five offensive linemen. The main reason is because Alabama has a lot of talent at one specific position (center) and I can’t see leaving any of those guys out of the group.
John Hannah (1970-1972)
In my opinion, John Hannah is the best offensive lineman the Crimson Tide ever had. Hannah was an absolute beast. He was a two time member of the All-SEC team, and a consensus All American in 1972. He’s one of the best offensive linemen the college game has ever seen.
Hannah was an athlete as well, lettering on both the track and wrestling teams at Alabama. Hannah was a dominate guard during his playing days, and I can’t see giving anybody the nod over him if someone proposes the question of best lineman in Alabama history.
Dwight Stephenson (1977-1980)
Bear Bryant said that Dwight Stephenson was the best player he ever coached regardless of position. Stephenson was an All American at Alabama and ended up becoming one of the best centers ever to play in the NFL.
But, before his glory days in the NFL, Stephenson was an All American at Alabama. If I was doing it by position, then Stephenson would edge out Sylvester Croom at the center position.
Chris Samuels (1996-1999)
The best tackle in Alabama history, and the best offensive lineman I ever witnessed myself at the University of Alabama. Samuels was the first Outland Trophy winner in Alabama history in 1999.
Samuels was an All American with the Crimson Tide and opened up holes for Shaun Alexander, helping contribute to Alexander being the top running back in Alabama history.
The most amazing stat for Chris Samuels is that he started 42 games in his Alabama career, and never allowed a single sack. In his senior season, Samuels didn’t even allow a QB pressure and had 91 knockdown blocks.
Samuels went on to have a very successful professional career with the Washington Redskins in the NFL.
Sylvester Croom (1972-1974)
Croom came into Alabama as a star tight end and linebacker at Tuscaloosa High School, but made the move to center for Bear Bryant. It ended up being a brilliant move for Croom as he went on to become an All American in 1974 and won the Jacobs Trophy as the SEC’s best lineman that same year.
In his career with the Crimson Tide, Croom was apart of three SEC Championship teams, and the 1973 National Championship team under Bryant.
Wayne Freeman (1962-1964)
Bear Bryant called Freeman the finest guard he ever coached. That’s very high praise for the same guy that went on to coach John Hannah. When most people talk about the best guard in Alabama history, Freeman isn’t a name that is mentioned very often, usually in the shadow of Hannah.
Freeman was an All American in 1964, the same year that the Crimson Tide won a National Championship.
Paul Crane (1963-1965)
Jim Bunch (1976-1979)
Wesley Britt (2001-2004)
Andre Smith (2006-2008)
Billy Neighbors (1959-1961)
Who has next: Barrett Jones (2009-Present)
Last season, Jones was named to the freshman All American team. He has a lot of potential and has already become one of the best offensive linemen on the Alabama team and he’ll just be a sophomore in 2010.
Jones has a ton of potential, and he definitely has next.
Well, there you have it, the all time Alabama offense. Let me hear what you have to say. I want to know what you think of the team and any suggestion/change you would make.
With all the talent Alabama has produced, I’m sure there are some different opinions out there. I hope you enjoyed it, even if you don’t necessarily agree with all the selections.
Make sure you tune in this weekend as I post the all time Alabama defense. As always, Roll Tide Roll.